Sports

Brown looking forward to upcoming season

After capturing his school’s Coach of the Year award, despite only having an outdoor season last school year, Bahamian track and field legend Chris “The Fireman” Brown is optimistic, looking forward to the upcoming season for the Clayton State University Lakers.

Brown, who became the head coach for the Lakers in the summer of 2019, is looking to get their season underway on December 3.

“The makeup of both the women and men’s teams are very strong across the board,” Brown said. “Everyone is hungry. They are looking forward to a great indoor season as they didn’t get to have one last season. Going forward, everybody is excited. Some have never ran indoors and they are looking to join the crew that was already here doing the damage that they were doing already. We are looking for a good healthy season and everyone is looking to perform their best. I am excited and they are excited. We started our conditioning and everyone is looking for a good healthy season.

“Our first competition starts on December 3, but we are still waiting on the final word back from one of the schools. It is a big NCAA Division I meet, and we are looking forward to that. That will be our season opener and will let us know what we need to work on.”

Brown said he was able to recruit 11 female athletes and eight male athletes for the upcoming season.

Clayton State is located in Morrow, Georgia, and competes at the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division II level in the Peach Belt Conference. Last season, they canceled their indoor season. Brown’s women’s team finished in the top five in all of their meets. The men’s team placed in the top three in five of six meets.

One school record was set during the season. It was done on the men’s side by Justin Johnson in the long jump. He leapt 7.05 meters (m) (23’ 1-1/2”) at the PBC Championships back in May. He surpassed the previous record twice this past season. A total of six PBC Athletes of the Week awards were handed out to the program.

Brown, a five-time Olympian, and Olympic relay gold, silver and two-time bronze medalist, was named the Lakers’ Coach of the Year last month for the 2020-2021 athletic year.

On the Lakers’ roster is one Bahamian – Sasha Knowles. The former St. Augustine’s College (SAC) student-athlete runs the 800m, the 4x400m relay and is also a part of the cross country team.

“She is in good shape and she does cross country. … We want her to do well and we know she can do well this year,” Brown said. “She had a great season last year in the women’s 4x400m and open 800m. We are looking forward to her doing big things. Hopefully, next year, we will look to bring in one or two more Bahamians into the squad and continue to represent.”

In her cross country season opener on Friday, she placed second in the NCAA Division II category with a personal time of 20:02.00 in the four-kilometer (4K) race. As a team, they finished eighth overall.

Last season, she ran a personal best of 2:25.61 in the 800m race. She did it at the GATA Classic in March.

For the outdoor season, the Lakers women will look to finish higher in the Peach Belt Conference. They placed fourth overall a year ago. The men will be looking for a higher placing than their fifth place finish last season.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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